Edgar Wright’s new fire-fuelled romantic heist thriller is the first he has made since completing the beloved Cornetto trilogy, and there are no signs of him slowing down with this two-hour adrenaline charged joy ride.
Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a young getaway driver with a reliance on the right music to aid him in the process of a heist. Despite the belief of leaving this life behind, he is persuaded into undertaking one last job, a job that may be the most problematic yet. Despite minimal dialogue, Baby proves to be a compelling protagonist with conscience and heart. Elgort is by no means a star just yet, but with the aid of an excellent supporting cast from the likes of Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx, there is no shortage of the prestige and charisma that a film like this requires elevating its charm.
The most obvious thing to consider is the use of music. It is the blood that pulses through Wright’s passion project. It seems omniscient, and when ceased, the frequency of its employment demands that you instantly notice its absence. Yet, while it may seem too reliant on songs to achieve the desired atmosphere, it is incredibly rare that the meticulous selection of songs fails to land. It would be naive not to acknowledge that since the 2014 superhit Guardians of the Galaxy, there has been a resurgence and huge audience demand for prominent and diverse pop soundtracks, and this is sure to be the next sensation.
The narrative is rather simple, but just as can be said about the over-saturation of music, its weaknesses at surface value are arguably its strengths. Wright’s cinematic vision may seem plain on paper, but on the screen it is tremendous. The action and chase sequences, of which there is certainly no shortage of, are at the core of Baby Driver‘s success. They are tense, they are masterful, and they are entertaining beyond imagination. There is an abundance of recent lacklustre action films that pale in comparison to a film like this, one directed by a man who cares infinitely about the result. The script is cool, always, and offers a reminder of the style showcased in his 2010 cult hit Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. But, in certain scenes, admittedly feels forced, and offer intuition as to where Wright may be trying too hard to replicate the suaveness of the films he loves. Obvious influences from his favourite film, the Coen Brothers’ 1987 comedy Raising Arizona, humbly seep in.
As he has proved over the years, Wright is an immensely stylish director, with a visual flair and comedic touch that make him such hot property. Each of his trademark talents is in full form here. It is not as funny as some of his previous work, but for a film with the primary goal to thrill, it has the ability to administer laughs on many honourable occasions, most of which are brilliantly provided by the great Kevin Spacey.
For a film so recent it is hard to call, but with such a confident and entertaining film as this, Baby Driver feels destined for classic status, and it deserves it.